This reform package retargets incentives to ensure that ‘the more remote you go, the greater the reward’ to encourage doctors to work in some of Australia’s most isolated rural and remote communities – and to help keep them there.
For example, under the new system, a doctor relocating from a major city to a regional centre will receive a $15,000 grant. A doctor relocating to a very remote area would receive $120,000.
Under reforms to be introduced by the Rudd Government, almost 500 communities around Australia will become eligible for rural incentive payments for the first time.
Retention payments will also be heavily geared to the level of remoteness. Many of the more than 260 doctors who practise in the most remote locations will potentially have their maximum retention incentives increased from $25,000 per year to $47,000 per year.
More than 2,400 rural doctors will now become eligible for the first time for grant payments to remain in rural and remote areas.
In contrast to the previous Government’s ad hoc, antiquated approach, the Rudd Government is introducing a new classification system which reflects how Australia’s population and demographic make-up has changed over time.
From 1 July 2009, the outdated and flawed Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Areas (RRMA) system will be replaced by the Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA) system.
The ASGC-RA has been developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, uses 2006 Census data, and is widely used by Commonwealth and state agencies. Most importantly, moving to the ASGC-RA will improve incentives for attracting health services to areas of genuine need.
The new classification system will be phased in from July 2009.
The Rudd Government is also investing in three mental health programs specifically targeted to meet the needs of rural and remote communities:
The Rudd Government will also invest immediately $13.9 million on 40 rural and regional projects.
Each of these projects aims to improve access to essential health infrastructure and equipment for rural and remote communities.
These announcements signal the Rudd Government’s ongoing determination to ensure people get appropriate and timely health care when and where they need it.
An announcement about the outcomes of Round Two of the National Rural and Remote Health Infrastructure Program will be made in the near future.
|NT||Alyangula, Groote Eylandt||Anindilyakwa Land Council||Build accommodation for junior doctors and medical students.||$496,000|
|Vic||Ararat||Ararat Medical Centre||Extension of existing building to include additional consulting rooms, waiting area, meeting rooms and teaching area.||$500,000|
|SA||Beachport||Wattle Range Council||Capital works to build a new medical centre. ||$500,000|
|Vic||Beechworth||Beechworth Surgery||Replacement and upgrade of the computer system and hardware, in line with recommended standards.||$50,000|
|WA||Boddington||Shire of Boddington||Capital works to construct and fit out a new allied health medical centre.||$500,000|
|NSW||Bombala||Bombala Council||Capital works to construct a house in Bombala for use by a GP.||$260,000|
|WA||Broome||Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council||Establish a multi-purpose clinic on the Dakas St Medical Centre site.||$500,000|
|Qld||Cairns||Cairns Private Hospital||Establish Interventional Cardiology services and ICU through necessary building works (funded by the hospital) and equipment purchase.||$131,632|
|Vic||Camperdown||Camperdown Clinic Trust||Undertake extensions to the current medical clinic through the addition of three consulting rooms, a training room and appropriate staff amenities. Also includes the purchase of appropriate clinical and diagnostic and procedural equipment.||$432,987|
|Qld||Charleville||Murweh Shire Council||Convert, refurbish and refit existing building into a private dental practice and oral health centre.||$398,200|
|Vic||Charlton||Charlton Medical||Refurbishment of medical practice facility and equipment to attract and maintain suitably qualified medical and nursing personnel, registrar and medical students.||$218,407|
|Qld||Chinchilla||Chinchilla Medical Practice||Replace ageing diagnostic imaging equipment with new up-to-date quality equipment.||$227,779|
|Vic||Cobram||Moira Shire Council||Capital works to construct a purpose-built facility to provide integrated primary care including medical, dental and health professional services to the region. ||$500,000|
|SA||Cummins||District Council of Lower Eyre Peninsula||Capital works to extend an existing building to include additional consulting rooms, waiting area, meeting rooms and teaching area. ||$130,000|
|NT||Dhalinbuy||Laynhapuy Homelands Association Inc||Build a facility in which health care can be delivered in a clinically and culturally appropriate manner.||$295,441|
|WA||Donnybrook||Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup||Capital works to construct a new medical facility that will cater for a general medical practice, pathology, specialised nurse treatment, allied health and the training of rural medical staff.||$500,000|
|NSW||Dubbo||Dubbo Private Hospital||Purchase urology and imaging equipment and develop a plan that can be implemented over time, which will benefit the people of Dubbo.||$155,205|
|NSW||Forbes||Forbes Shire Council||Capital works to construct a walk-in walk-out medical service in Forbes.||$500,000|
|NSW||Forbes||Joma Consulting Services Pty Ltd||Renovation of existing building and the construction of an annex building for the provision of professional consulting rooms.||$498,388|
|NSW||Gilgandra||Gilgandra Shire Council||Capital works to build a private GP clinic in the grounds of the Gilgandra MPS. ||$240,000|
|NSW||Gunnedah||Barwon Division of General Practice Ltd||Design a one-stop integrated primary health care facility. The building will include capacity for training, retaining and developing medical and allied health services.||$500,000|
|Qld||Inglewood||Goondiwindi Regional Council||Capital works to establish a new medical centre.||$500,000|
|Vic||Inglewood||Loddon Shire Council||Capital works to construct accommodation to attract another GP to the area.||$390,000|
|WA||Kalgoorlie||Eastern Goldfields Medical Div of GP (Goldfields Esperance GP Network)||Purchase of a vehicle for the mobile medical team and provide early detection and treatment for people with diabetes.||$470,000|
|Vic||Kerang||Fitzroy Street Medical Clinic||Build and equip four new consulting rooms for practice use and training of medical students and GP registrars.||$261,990|
|Vic||Merino||Glenelg Shire Council||Capital works to enable the redevelopment of the Bush Nursing Centre. ||$500,000|
|Vic||Murchison||Goulburn Valley Division of General Practice||Capital works to refurbish facilities, including an upgrade of the waiting and reception area and the records and consultation area. ||$499,059|
|Vic||Nathalia||Nathalia Medical Clinic||Equip the new medical clinic with updated medical equipment that will remain part of the medical clinic.||$115,100|
|Qld||Nebo||Isaac Regional Council - Nebo Business Unit||Capital works to construct a new medical centre practice facility.||$454,545|
|WA||Northam||Central Wheatbelt Division of General Practice Ltd||Capital works to support counselling and Allied Health Services. ||$500,000|
|Vic||Ouyen||Mallee Division of General Practice ||Capital works to extend an existing building to include a dental sterilisation facility.||$57,272|
|SA||Padthway||Tatiara District Council||Capital works for an extension to the indoor sporting facility to include a new medical centre. ||$86,292|
|Qld||Roma||Maranoa Medical Centre||Refurbishment to accommodate a new consulting room and the purchase of medical equipment. ||$55,389|
|NSW||Rylstone||Mid-West Regional Council||Capital works to purchase, as appropriate, residential property in the area that would be used to attract and retain GPs and other health professionals.||$300,000|
|NSW||Scone||Upper Hunter Shire Council||Capital works to increase capacity of Scone Medical Practice to accommodate multidisciplinary health services, especially allied health services in the community. ||$500,000|
|Tas||Scottsdale||Division of General Practice Northern Tasmania Inc||Capital works to construct a multidisciplinary primary care centre in the rural north eastern town of Scottsdale.||$500,000|
|SA||Tanunda||Tanunda Medical Centre ||Refurbishment of building to accommodate a study area, meeting area, video-conferencing room and staff amenities.||$102,748|
|NSW||Taree||Intalink Therapy Solutions||Expand allied health services to include paediatric psychology, speech pathology, occupational therapy and physiotherapy.||$261,176|
|SA||Tumby Bay||District Council of Tumby Bay||Capital works to enhance the existing medical practice and allied health services that will increase the range of health services available through visiting specialists. ||$500,000|
|NSW||Urbenville||Tenterfield Shire Council||Capital works to renovate and equip the existing Urbenville Medical Practice. ||$295,455|